October 2, 2021

Does Instant Coffee Dissolve In Cold Water? Powder vs. Crystals Plus a Tasty Recipe

Clint Doerfler
Clint Doerfler
 | 
Updated: August 2, 2022
       
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Does instant coffee dissolve better in hot or cold water? Does the water temperature matter when making instant coffee?

The answer is simple, really. While it eventually dissolves in cold water, it’s quicker to use hot water.

Colder temperatures do not work as fast at dissolving the instant coffee powder or crystals, and can leave unwanted clumps of coffee floating at the top of your cup if not stirred in completely.

If you want the “quickest” cup of instant coffee, then use the warmest water possible at or below 205°F.

Otherwise, if you have no access to hot water or are trying to make iced coffee (and don’t want the hot water melting your ice), just know that you’ll have a little more stirring or shaking to do.

See below for a quick, killer iced coffee recipe you can “shake up” in under a minute!

Will Instant Coffee Dissolve In Cold Water?

Most instant coffee packaging suggests that you dissolve your instant coffee in hot water before drinking it, but what if you want to make an iced coffee? Does instant coffee dissolve well in cold water?

Although it dissolves much better in hot water, you technically can make instant coffee with cold water. Simply combine your instant coffee with cold water in the same way you would with hot water, and stir until it’s fully dissolved. This can take a little more time and effort, but it will dissolve eventually.

In addition, if it’s iced coffee you’re after, a shaker cup can help to dissolve the instant coffee much faster than stirring.
“Although it dissolves much better in hot water, you can still make instant coffee with cold water.

Does Instant Coffee Dissolve Better In Hot Water Or Cold Water? A Little Science Behind It...

Instant coffee dissolves much better in hot water than it does in cold water.

This is because most solids (like instant coffee) become more soluble as the temperature of the water increases. When our solvent (water in this case) is heated, it creates more molecular movement, increasing the collisions between the water molecules and the molecules of the solids (instant coffee).

The lower the water temperature, the fewer collisions between the molecules of the water and the solids, which is why cold water doesn’t dissolve the instant coffee as quickly.

What Is Instant Coffee and How Is It Made?

Believe it or not, instant coffee is made with real coffee.

But before it’s in instant form, whole coffee beans are roasted, ground, and brewed just like when brewing regular coffee.

Making instant coffee begins when all the water is removed from the brewed coffee product, leaving behind dehydrated crystals of coffee. We then just simply add water to make it drinkable once more. Awesome!

There are two methods in which instant coffee is made — spray drying and freeze drying. Spray drying involves the liquid coffee extract being sprayed into extremely hot, dry air (around 475°F). When the coffee hits this hot air, the water is instantly evaporated, leaving behind small, round crystals.

Freeze drying, on the other hand, is a more involved, multi-step process. Similarly, though, the coffee is first reduced to an extract by eliminating as much water as possible through an evaporation process.

The product is then chilled at around 20°F, turning into a kind of coffee slushy. This coffee slushy is then chilled on a drum, tray, or belt at an even colder temperature of around -40°F until it freezes into slabs of ice. These slabs are then broken into granules and sent to a drying vacuum where the ice vaporizes and leaves behind instant coffee crystals.

Instant Coffee Powder vs. Crystals: What Are the Differences?

The primary distinction between instant coffee powder and crystals is how they’re processed.

The powder form of instant coffee is made using a spray drying technique. Instant coffee crystals are made using a freeze drying method.

Differences in taste? Freeze-dried instant coffee crystals have a better taste because of how they’re processed, whereas instant coffee powder has a tendency to have more of a burnt taste.

Apart from their texture and consistency differences, both are still produced from the same type of coffee beans—Arabica, Robusta, or a mixture of the two.

Even so, depending on the brand you buy, either might have unique coffee blends and/or origins. But the best instant coffee will be made from 100% Arabica beans, as they have a better, more well-rounded taste compared to the harsher nature of Robusta beans.

How To Make a Cup of Iced Coffee Using Instant Coffee

This recipe is extremely easy and tastes refreshingly amazing!

All you’ll need is:
  • 1 heaping Tbsp. of your favorite brand of instant coffee
  • 2/3 cup of milk (regular, soy, almond, etc.)
  • 1/3 cup filtered water
  • Your favorite creamer or half and half
  • Ice cubes
  • Shaker cup
Fill up your shaker cup about 1/3 of the way with ice cubes.

Using a measuring cup, measure out the milk and water and add to shaker cup. Add the instant coffee and your favorite creamer to the shaker cup as well. Put the lid on it and shake vigorously for 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Pour into a separate glass with a straw or enjoy straight from your shaker cup!

Instant Conclusion

Instant coffee is a quick and convenient way to get your caffeine fix and can be used to make a wide variety of tasty coffee-based drinks and recipes.

While it’s true that instant coffee may dissolve faster in hot water, it is still possible to dissolve it in cold water, though a bit more time and effort may be needed.

In the end, instant coffee is a great option for those who don’t drink coffee every day, but still want to enjoy the beverage occasionally.

Ready for a cup of coffee?
Clint Doerfler
Clint Doerfler is the founder of Coffee Gear Gurus® and has been obsessed with everything coffee since a very young “growth-stunting” age. He is passionate about helping fellow coffee lovers make amazing coffee at home, no matter what their level of experience.

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